Throughout 2011 I pondered whether or not I should upgrade from my Nikon d90 dSLR behemoth to a MILC with better camera-tech stuffed into a much smaller, lighter form factor. The main reason I wanted to upgrade was portability. Due to its weight and size, I never took my d90 anywhere. For my trip to Vegas (Lexus GS Event), I finally did the deed and purchased the Sony nex-5n. So far it has taken great pictures and incredible videos, I have zero buyers regret. I looked around for a bit of protection that did not add too much weight or bulk to the nex-5n. Being such a relatively new camera platform, there is not a huge selection of accessories/protection currently available. Through random Net surfing, I came across a Korean company named Gariz that creates minimalistic half-cases specifically designed for MILC cameras. Fortunately, they make one for the Sony nex-5n and were willing to send me one to review.
For its trek around the world, the form fitted, leather case comes well packaged and protected.
The first thoughts that came to my mind when I saw the Gariz half-case were how Vaja- and Ducati-like it was.
The leather is topnotch, very well finished, and finely stitched.
The inside is lined with a soft velvet material and as you can see, formed to perfectly fit the Sony nex-5n.
The case screws into the camera’s tripod hard-point. The case itself provides its own hard-point to attach the camera/case to your tripod. The chromed metal hardware is finely machined and well-finished; integrated nicely into the case.
The case allows easy access to all of the nex-5n’s controls, although you do have to take the case off to gain access to the battery/SD card compartment located on the bottom of the camera. I use an Eye-Fi wireless SD card, so access/downloading my pictures is not an issue. But I do have to remove it to recharge the battery. As a FYI: Gariz has eliminated this minor inconvenience in the case they have created for the nex-7 by engineering an access point.
Along with the nex’s buttons and dials, the Gariz half-case is designed to allow full movement of the Sony’s adjustable screen.
With the case on and a longer lens attached to the camera, the whole ensemble does lean forward on the lens. Not a huge deal but worth mentioning. The camera stands upright with the pancake lens attached.
The Gariz leather half-case is available in dark brown, black (with red stitching), white, and tan.
Gariz truly supports the MILC movement, backing it with their well-made products. They make cases for not only the 5n but the (just released) Sony nex-7, Sony nex-3, Lumix GX-1, Lumix GF3, Fuji x10, Samsung NX200, Olympus PEN MINI, and Olympus EPL3 to name a few.
Feel and Useabilty:
The Gariz half-case adds better grip-ability to the small and occasionally awkward nex-5n. The case increases the length of the grip by about a third of an inch….just enough to be noticeable for those with larger hands. The fine leather feels nicer to hold than the camera’s hard plastic.
The half-case provides a little protection from bumps and perhaps (very) minor drops but only if the camera falls butt first, an unlikely scenario with a lens of any weight on the front of the nex-5n.
With a majority of the gariz.com website is in Korean, it would be difficult (for me at least) to order from them. I asked the folks at Gariz how much they charge for the case they sent me and for shipping it to the US; their response was $75 for the case and approximately $25 for shipping. At the time of writing this review, there were hundreds of Gariz products available on eBay for about the same price as the website itself. Overall, I like the look, feel, and added grip the form-fitted Gariz half-case brings to the Sony nex-5n. The case is very well crafted with excellent materials and craftsmanship….well worth the splurge ;).